Are you ready for some… gardening? How about fantasy gardening?
I read an article in the Indianapolis Star about how 37 million people will spend time each week during the football season managing their fantasy football teams. These millions of people form fantasy leagues, hold mock drafts to pick their players from the rosters of real NFL teams, and then each week use the real players’ statistics to figure out how their “teams” did.
So, if they can play fantasy sports team manager, how about gardeners playing fantasy gardener?
Gardeners could band together in fantasy garden clubs and pick their vegetable and flower seeds from a list of seeds provided by a fantasy garden program yet to be written. Then the gardeners can fantasy plant, fertilize, prune, harvest, basically “do” all the things they do in real gardening, but do it ‘virtually’ online, without getting dirty.
The fantasy gardening program would cause good or bad random events to occur and then figure out the impact (good or bad) and help tally up the harvest to see who manages to get the most out of their garden.
Random events could be hailstorms, insect infestations, droughts, rain, heat, frost, etc. As in the real world where we look at weather forecasts to try to figure out what is going to happen, in fantasy gardening some fantasy (and horror) weather forecasts would be provided in advance to give the gardeners a chance to decide if they need to virtually cover plants, provide supplemental watering, fertilize, harvest early, etc.
I did find a gardening video game, Plantasia, but that looks like a solitary, one person game. I’m talking about forming fantasy garden clubs to do fantasy gardening through a whole off season (November – February), competing with other gardeners for biggest pumpkin, earliest tomato, and all of that. And to make it really interesting, no one gets to fantasy garden in the hardiness zone in which they currently live. The program would assign you to another zone, so we can all learn to be a bit more sympathetic to the "zonal plights" of other gardeners.
Yes, there would be some aspects of fantasy gardening that we can’t overcome with any amount of programming. We won’t have any real vegetables to eat or flowers to smell. We won’t really get dirt under our fingernails, or enjoy the sun on our backs or gain the benefits of exercise from gardening. But, the fact that people who have fantasy football teams don’t really actually win games doesn’t stop them!
Who’s in? Sign up for your fantasy garden club today!
(After I wrote all of this, I decided to make sure I hadn't thought up someone else's idea, so I did a quick online search for "fantasy gardening". Sure enough, I got a hit, check it out here. It's not quite as elaborate as a full season of fantasy gardening, but it might be a start. )
(The picture above is slices from the tomato I featured yesterday. No fantasy tomato there. That’s a dinner plate full from one real tomato! Yum, it was very good on my BLT.)